A Study of the Sky

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    IN these pages the author presents his readers with a popular and general account of the more prominent features of the heavens, and describes how astronomers have been able to gather such information. After a short historical sketch of the founders of astronomy up to the end of the eighteenth century, a series of chapters is devoted to the various constellations, showing how each particular one may be recognised, and at what time of year it is best visible: the diagrams accompanying these will be found very distinct, and undoubtedly useful. The author then devotes a chapter to the character of the astronomer, acting on the idea that the personality of the observer is a powerful factor in his scientific utterances. The illustrations accompanying this chapter are restricted to American astronomers, and will be of special interest to those who know the works, but have not made the acquaintance, of celestial investigators, across the Atlantic. Reference is next made to the astronomer's implements and observatories: in this the great refractors of America, and a description of the preparation of the lenses, are dealt with, followed by a very sparse account of spectrum analysis. A few pages are devoted to the measurement of time, and the general features of the solar surface are next generally described. Some excellent lunar reproductions are inserted in the text relating to the moon and eclipses, and the planets come in for a good share of description, reference being made to most of the recent work done in this branch of observational astronomy. The progress made in celestial photography is well illustrated in those sections dealing with comets, nebulæ and stars; but the information is at times somewhat scanty—as, for instance, the dismissal of stellar spectra in about one hundred lines. As a whole, the book is well worth perusal, and its value is considerably enhanced by the wealth of excellent illustrations throughout. The general reader, as well as the student, will find in it much that is interesting.

    A Study of the Sky.

    By Herbert A. Howe. Pp. xii + 335. (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1897.)

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